MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - The Michigan State wrestling team closed the regular season on a three-match winning streak after defeating No. 25 Central Michigan, 18-14, Saturday afternoon at McGuirk Arena. Seventh-ranked heavyweight Mike McClure led the way for the Spartans by pinning Adam Robinson in 2:49; MSU also claimed victories at 133, 165, 184 and 197 pounds.
"It's nice when you tell your kids that you have to stay on track because we're getting better as a team, and they stay the course," said MSU head coach Tom Minkel. "These kids never lost their focus and determination, and it's really showed here in the last three duals. To their credit, these guys have been very resilient. We've taken some tough losses and yet they come into practice always ready to work. It's enormously rewarding to see that hard work start to pay off. We're headed in the right direction, and today was a big step."
Bobby Nash got the Spartans (8-10) on the board with a 5-1 decision at 165 over Nick Becker, but the Chippewas extended their lead to 9-3 after eighth-ranked 174-pounder Mike Ottinger came away with a 4-3 overtime victory against Nick Kaczanowski in the first tiebreaker.
The Spartans then rattled off three consecutive wins to take control of the dual. John Rizqallah got things going in the 184-pound match with a 4-0 shutout over Craig Kelliher, followed by a 4-2 decision by Nick McDiarmid over Jackson Lewis at 197 pounds as MSU tied it at 9.
The difference in the dual was at heavyweight, as McClure recorded his team-leading eighth fall of the season to give the Spartans six points and a 15-9 lead with three matches remaining. For McClure, it marked his 22nd career fall, which moved him into a tie with Merle Jennings and David Morgan for 10th most in MSU history. It also was the 95th victory of McClure's career, placing him into a tie for 19th on the all-time Spartan wins chart.
CMU trimmed its deficit to 15-12 with Corey Keeners' 7-3 decision over Brenan Lyon at 125 pounds. The Spartans, however, bounced back and clinched the dual in the 133-pound match as Garth Yenter upset No. 11 Joe Roth, 8-4. Although Yenter gave up a first-period takedown, he responded in the second period with an escape, takedown and three near-fall points. He added another takedown in the third to record the 8-4 win. The Chippewas were then deducted a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct after the bout, giving MSU an 18-11 lead to seal the victory.
No. 8 Zach Moran won the final match of the dual with a 6-2 decision over Brian Gibbs at 141 pounds.
With the dual season now complete, the Spartans will prepare for the Big Ten Championships March 8-9 in Madison, Wis.
Michigan State 18, No. 25 Central Michigan 14
149: Scott Mattingly (CMU) dec. Nick Trimble (MSU), 6-3. (CMU, 3-0)
157: No. 20 Luke Smith dec. Roger Wildmo (MSU), 5-3. (CMU, 6-0)
165: Bobby Nash (MSU) dec. Nick Becker (CMU), 5-1. (CMU, 6-3)
174: No. 8 Mike Ottinger (CMU) dec. Nick Kaczanowski, 4-3 (TB1). (CMU, 9-3)
184: John Rizqallah (MSU) dec. Craig Kelliher (CMU), 4-0. (CMU, 9-6)
197: Nick McDiarmid (MSU) dec. Jackson Lewis (CMU), 4-2. (CMU, 9-9)
HWT: No. 7 Mike McClure (MSU) pinned Adam Robinson (CMU), 2:49. (MSU, 15-9)
125: Corey Keeners (CMU) dec. Brenan Lyon (MSU), 7-3. (MSU, 15-12)
133: Garth Yenter (MSU) dec. No. 11 Joe Roth (CMU), 8-4. Central Michigan deducted a point for unsportsmanlike conduct. (MSU, 18-11)
141: No. 8 Zach Horan dec. Brian Gibbs (MSU), 6-2. (MSU, 18-14)